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With/Without: Spatial Products, Practices and Politics in the Middle East

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As Dubai builds unprecedented realms of new luxury, other parts of the Middle East grapple with physical and symbolic histories. Relics come up against reinvention and revolution. And micromutations in Middle Eastern politics and economics have become part of our shared "local" news around the globe. Brought to us by the publishers of Bidoun, the critically acclaimed quarte As Dubai builds unprecedented realms of new luxury, other parts of the Middle East grapple with physical and symbolic histories. Relics come up against reinvention and revolution. And micromutations in Middle Eastern politics and economics have become part of our shared "local" news around the globe. Brought to us by the publishers of Bidoun, the critically acclaimed quarterly, With/Without is an anthology that casts an eye across broad swathes of the Middle East today. Featuring an intriguing mock-archival design, this equally text- and image-heavy publication is divided into 14 chapters, each of which takes on an architectural or institutional typology--the museum, the villa, the street, the skyscraper, etc.--and illustrates it with essays, interviews and documentary photographs. Featuring more than 30 contributions from writers, artists, designers and architects including Rem Koolhaas, Armin Linke and Keller Easterling, it takes on subjects as diverse as the redevelopment of Martyr's Square in Beirut, gated communities in Istanbul, Dubai's mall culture, bridge building in Mecca and the creation of a new Iraqi flag in the post-Saddam era. The underlying question in all of these inquiries is: How do spaces and territories form fundamental ideas about individuals, communities, and worlds?


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As Dubai builds unprecedented realms of new luxury, other parts of the Middle East grapple with physical and symbolic histories. Relics come up against reinvention and revolution. And micromutations in Middle Eastern politics and economics have become part of our shared "local" news around the globe. Brought to us by the publishers of Bidoun, the critically acclaimed quarte As Dubai builds unprecedented realms of new luxury, other parts of the Middle East grapple with physical and symbolic histories. Relics come up against reinvention and revolution. And micromutations in Middle Eastern politics and economics have become part of our shared "local" news around the globe. Brought to us by the publishers of Bidoun, the critically acclaimed quarterly, With/Without is an anthology that casts an eye across broad swathes of the Middle East today. Featuring an intriguing mock-archival design, this equally text- and image-heavy publication is divided into 14 chapters, each of which takes on an architectural or institutional typology--the museum, the villa, the street, the skyscraper, etc.--and illustrates it with essays, interviews and documentary photographs. Featuring more than 30 contributions from writers, artists, designers and architects including Rem Koolhaas, Armin Linke and Keller Easterling, it takes on subjects as diverse as the redevelopment of Martyr's Square in Beirut, gated communities in Istanbul, Dubai's mall culture, bridge building in Mecca and the creation of a new Iraqi flag in the post-Saddam era. The underlying question in all of these inquiries is: How do spaces and territories form fundamental ideas about individuals, communities, and worlds?

23 review for With/Without: Spatial Products, Practices and Politics in the Middle East

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pol

    With/Without deals primarily with the sectarian codification of space in the Middle East. And like any set of treatises on the Middle East's urbanity, its architectural growth, it is obsessed with Dubai, that startling jewel in late Capitalism's crown (and its voyeuristic facets). The book is composed of a series of essays, most illustrated with photographs and/or computer generated imaginings of future projects. Some are much better than others, but I'll leave it to other readers to decide the s With/Without deals primarily with the sectarian codification of space in the Middle East. And like any set of treatises on the Middle East's urbanity, its architectural growth, it is obsessed with Dubai, that startling jewel in late Capitalism's crown (and its voyeuristic facets). The book is composed of a series of essays, most illustrated with photographs and/or computer generated imaginings of future projects. Some are much better than others, but I'll leave it to other readers to decide the strength of each as my designs may not be theirs. The interview with architecture's great ambassador, Rem Koolhaus, is exciting and stultifying. Interviewer Markus Miessen is every bit as lucid as Koolhaus and reading their dance is exhilarating. Unfortunately they do seem to talk at cross purposes at times such as when, in discussing the mediation of space in Dubai, Miessen questions if any space has been left for 'conflict'. Koolhaus seems to not understand the question and moves on to say that they are no longer building cities, but resorts. Or perhaps that is the answer. Rarely does the question of the condition of migrant workers in their closed-off island world come in to play. That's sad as it's one of the more important questions that needs to be addressed in the issue of Dubai's phenomenal growth. Later, in the section 'Symbolic Boundaries', Miessen talks with Philipp Misselwitz about the fastest growing cities in the word, refugee camps. This chat is loaded with ideas on the resistance to normalization by camp dwellers. It would make a fascinating TED Talk or an entire book of their conversations. Fawwaz Traboulsi provides a fascinating piece on the struggle to create a new flag for Iraq in the appendix. Kurds flying the pre-Saddam flag. The commission of a flag that bears a startling resemblance to Israel's that gets thrown out. Short, but exciting. Perhaps my favorite piece was the interview with Iraq's director-general of the Iraqi National Library and Archive, Dr. Saad Bashir Eskander. Here we learn how they manage to keep the project going in spite of document theft and intentional destruction, only 5 hours of electricity per day in Baghdad, and the murder of several employees. There are many great essays in this book and my only lament is that they are all teasers. Many of them could have been expanded to book length or would make excellent documentaries. The image reproduction leaves much to be desired as the paper they're printed on appears to be reclaimed and the inks are perhaps soy-based. It leaves them appearing washed out and muddy. I borrowed this via inter-library loan, but I believe I'm going to have to purchase it. This is the type of small tome that needs to be loaned out to anyone who thinks of the Middle East as a drab collection of religious fanatics who beat their heavily cloaked women and only aspire to the role of suicide bomber. The intellectual and artistic achievement of this region would put any of those ridiculous notions to the grave.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Frengky D'Law

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pol

  5. 4 out of 5

    g

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

  8. 5 out of 5

    Barrett

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nom De-Script

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eddie

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ethel Baraona

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maria Duarte

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pnkg

  16. 4 out of 5

    sohrabmk

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aya Nassar

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara Salem

  19. 4 out of 5

    fouly

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bolun Zhang

  21. 4 out of 5

    Azadeh Sobout

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nashat Nimer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hend ElGhazaly

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